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Phuket Hard Rock Cafe GM arrested for gruesome ‘cold case’ murder in Australia

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Hard Rock Cafe GM arrested for gruesome ‘cold case’ murder in Australia | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Hard Rock Cafe Phuket General Manager Gerard Caleo, 42, was arrested in Australia for his alleged role in the gruesome murder of Rita Caleo, reported the South Sydney Morning Herald today (story here).

Mr Caleo was arrested by Homicide Squad detectives after landing in Sydney on a flight from Kuala Lumpur at about 6am. He has been charged with solicitation to commit murder, accessory before the fact to murder and accessory after the fact to murder.

A manager from Hard Rock Cafe Patong declined to comment to the Phuket Gazette at this time.

However, it is believed that Mr Caleo is the brother of Mrs Caleo’s husband, Mark Caleo.

Mrs Caleo, 39, was stabbed to death on August 10, 1990. In an adjoining bedroom were her two children. Her body was found at 1:30am by a live-in nanny who heard suspicious sounds.

Her husband was at work at the time of the killing, according to police.

Detective Inspector John Lehmann, from the Unsolved Homicide Team, told the South Sydney Morning Herald that Mrs Caleo’s killing was made to look like a robbery.

“An intruder broke into the house and she was attacked in her bedroom,” Inspector Lehmann said. “It was a horrific murder.”

Mrs Caleo’s death came less than a year after her millionaire brother, Michael Chye, was shot dead as he drove his Mercedes into the garage of his mansion in Woollahra.

The gunman managed to successfully flee the scene.

An inquest into his death in 1991, about two years later, found that Mr Chye, his sister and her husband had been been involved in a dispute over a 107-million-baht waterfront property in Blakehurst, reported the South Sydney Morning Herald.

Inspector Lehmann said today that police believed the same people were responsible for both Mr Chye and Mrs Caleo’s deaths.

“We do think that both the murders are linked. Rita Caleo was murdered some 10 months after the murder of Dr Michael Chye, and yes… we do believe that the same persons are responsible,” Inspector Lehmann said.

“We know there are a number of people who were involved in Mrs Caleo and Dr Chye’s deaths and we are hoping to make more arrests in the future.

“My advice to anyone who was involved in these incidents, even if only by association, is to contact us before we come to you.”

The inquest into Mrs Caleo’s death in 1991 heard that she had handed her solicitor a sealed envelope just three months before her own death.

The envelope read: “To be opened only if my death is unnatural.” Inside were the names of two people she accused of organizing the assassination of Dr Chye.

Mrs Caleo wrote in the letter that if she died an unnatural death, the same people would be responsible.

However, the coroner, Kevin Waller, said at the time that the evidence presented by the letter failed to establish a prima facie case against any known person.

Despite extensive investigations into both murders during the 1990s, no one was charged over the siblings’ deaths until today.

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Business

“Phuket needs a world class exhibition and convention centre”

The Thaiger

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“Phuket needs a world class exhibition and convention centre” | The Thaiger

“Two key developments we are tracking is Central Festivals next phase of expansion and Proud Groups Andamanda project that both have significant concerence, meeting and incentive space.”

Plans to promote Phuket as a world-class MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) location are being obstructed by many impediments –  inefficient town planning, poor transport systems and poor availability of land in tourist locations.

Dusida Worrachaddejchai writes that Phuket’s deputy governor says the province has a blueprint to build an exhibition and convention hall to host international events with a capacity up to 5,000. But he said that town planning rules forbid building a hall larger than 6,000 square metres with a hight greater than 23 metres.

The prohibition for a proper convention hall by town planning appears to be one of the few projects impeded by lax town planning laws.

The project has been talked about for decades with Phuket’s potential as an active MICE venue being hampered by the lack of facilities, principally a large convention and exhibition centre.

If some provisions of the current town planning act for Phuket can be amended, the likely destination for a convention centre would be Thalang district. The deputy governor says he hopes it can be built in a few years and make Phuket able to bid for international events and expos.

But Thalang, although within 15 minutes of the Phuket International Airport, has little offer convention and exhibition delegates with most of the beaches and tourist infrastructure on the island’s southern coastal areas (Patong, Kata, Karon).

C9hotelworks’ Bill Barnett says proper MICE facilities have been a long time coming for Phuket.

“Phuket hotel developers are finally seeing the signifigance of the MICE trade. Two key developments we are tracking is Central Festivals next phase of expansion and Proud Groups Andamanda project that both have significant concerence, meeting and incentive space. TCEB ae active in the working on Phuket as a MICE destination so we see the future direction as positive, at last.”

Meanwhile the Thai government has foreshadowed that five Thai cities will be earmarked as MICE locations – Phuket, along with Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Pattaya and Bangkok. The deptuty governor sprouted Phuket’s existing MICE credentials – 600 hotels offering 40,000 guest rooms, 220 convention rooms, 615 meeting rooms, 14 piers and four private marinas. But these facilities are spread all over the island with poor access and almost no public transportation.

Plans for a world class convention centre have been brought up from time to time over the past two decades with provincial officials huffing and puffing about the need for a proper facility for the growing island but, so far, nothing has happened and the island remains a leading tourist destination with little attraction for larger conferences, exhibitions and events.

In the past the private sector – primarily Central Group and Jungceylon – have indicated their interest to build a convention hall in the Patong area. But town planning issues and the ever-dwindling available land in the seaside city have shelved any progress.

Southern beach locations, with excellent hotels, shopping and beaches – Karon and Kata – have also been flagged as potential locations but access, especially from the airport, remains poor. Travel times to the southern beaches from the airport is at least an hour and involves trips across the notorious hills roads at either Patong or Kata.

Progress on the Patong Tunnel has also stalled with successive governments unable to progress the project.

The government should improve mass transport from the airport to Patong and other western coast districts in Phuket, namely Karon, to facilitate large groups such as Mice travellers that require more than buses and vans, Ms Chalermluck said.

Last year, more than 2 million visitors arrived in Phuket for MICE events, generating 19.5 billion baht in income. But MICE industry proponents say that number could be easily tripled with a proper convention and exhibition venue.

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Business

Laguna Angsana Resort opens conference and exhibition venue

Bill Barnett

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Laguna Angsana Resort opens conference and exhibition venue | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett of c9hotelworks.com

Laguna Phuket’s Angsana resort is set to debut it’s new 1,500 square metre conference and exhibition space. It’s actually a renovation and rebranding of the successful Laguna marquee space and relocated to a more permanent location within the Angsana Laguna Phuket complex.

Tagged as ACES, the venue will open at the end of September.

For big events the space accommodates 1,500 patrons, theatre style, or 800 for dining.

The new ACES will be one of the island’s largest event venues.

Phuket’s MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) industry have been calling for better conference and exhibition facilities for two decades with a growing market of businesses and conferences wanting to mount their events around Phuket’s excellent hotel and tourist offerings.

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Environment

Phuket’s Surin Beach’s anti-erosion walls fails causing another environmental disaster

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Surin Beach’s anti-erosion walls fails causing another environmental disaster | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: ขยะมรสุม

ขยะมรสุม has posted on their Facebook page about the ugly and failed attempt at an erosion wall at Phuket’s Surin Beach (photos below).

He said in his post…

“Found this big pile of trouble at Surin Beach. What are these sacks for? Are they becoming trash? You won’t conquer nature with sand sacks. If you want to make a breakwater for waves, it has to be better than this. The departments involved must be responsible for this.”

Phuket's Surin Beach's anti-erosion walls fails causing another environmental disaster | News by The Thaiger

The post has solicited over 50 comments and almost as many shares (at the time of this story) and carries the short-comings of Surin Beach’s sad recent years to the world.

All commercial activities were swept from the beach in 2016. Before then it was cluttered with popular makeshift restaurants, bars and even quite established beach clubs. At the time it was promised to be returned to its pristine, former condition and was a favourite for locals as it had been visited by HM King Bhumibol in March 1959.

Numerous plans have since been announced, and funding provided, to turn the beach into a park, in honour of the late King Bhumibol. But, as of now, the remnants of the commercial past – concrete building bases, steel pins sticking out the ground – remain and the Cherngtalay Or Bor Tor, responsible for the maintenance of the area, has largely neglected one of Phuket’s most popular beaches.

Phuket's Surin Beach's anti-erosion walls fails causing another environmental disaster | News by The Thaiger

King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit (now Queen Mother) during a royal visit to Phuket in 1959 when they visited Surin Beach.

Phuket's Surin Beach's anti-erosion walls fails causing another environmental disaster | News by The Thaiger

The Surin Beach strip in 2014 before the military government swept to power and removed all the illegal and encroached restaurants, and beach clubs from the shores.

Phuket's Surin Beach's anti-erosion walls fails causing another environmental disaster | News by The Thaiger Phuket's Surin Beach's anti-erosion walls fails causing another environmental disaster | News by The Thaiger

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